an image diary

"And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you'd be? ... You'd be nowhere. Why, you're only a sort of thing in his dream! If that there King was to wake you'd go out -- bang! -- just like a candle!"

"Hush! You'll be waking him, I'm afraid, if you make so much noise."

"Well it's no use your talking about waking him when you're only one of the things in his dream. You know very well you're not real."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

. .


Well, what I meant to say about the unicorn (but was sidebashed by the demand of other work) is that it's a postcard in a ziplock bag returned to me from Bangor, ME, postmarked 17 Oct, 1984. I received it 22 years ago. I was fourteen? fifteen? but I'd sent it off, self-addressed and stamped, four years previously when I was ten? eleven? years old, and when unicorns were becoming all the rage. Along with purple. Purple unicorns, especially. On the back, in uneven cursive:

Dear Gina--

Tell your folks that yes, I do have "people" to read & answer my mail--and I'm one of them!

all the best,

Steven King

The eleven year-old who discovered The Stand and who immersed herself in the many other books, subsequently, was canny enough to question the legitimacy of the writer's public persona as personable. I wrote him because no other living writer in my limited experience (my town was small enough to be invisible, is) had ever talked about writing as a vocation and made it possible--visible --as a vocation. I discovered and read my first King book on my first road trip away from Arizona.

I was not savvy enough to know that by this point in my life I would no longer take writing from a Circle K book rack.

We drove to Del Rio, Texas, to visit my mother's family for the first time. I finished Fire Starter just as we pulled up to the overgrown fence and the leaning shack of rooms my grandmother lived in and my mother grew up in. I said to my mother: "it's so pretty," considering the daisies, "and she said, "Gina, it's ugly. Ugly." We would only make that trip once more. When we returned, I wrote King a letter and told him my father said he wouldn't respond, that he has people who read and answer his fan mail.

Until a few days ago, I was not savvy enough to think of running the spell check on the signature. Steven, not Stephen. Well, I hadn't thought of it because it doesn't much matter.

I make the journey from Arizona to Texas every year now. From where I was born to where I began. I'm leaving next Wednesday for Arizona. I'll be in Del Rio for Christmas. I'm taking many books and all this new writing.

Thanks to Steven, who said, despite the obstacles, it can be done. You can write too.


"and what is the use of a book...without pictures or conversations?"

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